Doohan triumphs in stop-start affair

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The Independent Online
Michael Doohan overcame his dislike for the twisting Assen track in the Dutch Grand Prix on Saturday to clinch his fourth successive win of the season.

The Australian world champion twice edged out his Spanish team-mate Alex Criville after the race was split in two when fears of a heavy downpour caused officials to call a halt after eight laps. The riders were called back on to the track 30 minutes later when the storm did not arrive. Officials later decided to combine the times of the first eight laps and the remaining 12 laps.

It was Doohan's third successive victory in Assen, but he admits to an aversion to the track since breaking his ankle in 1992. "I don't like this place, it worries me," he said. The Dutch win, his fifth this season and the 31st in his career, brought him a step closer to his third world title in a row. After seven races in the 15-round championship, Doohan has 146 points, 53 clear of Criville, who started in pole position.

Doohan, starting from third place on the grid, caught the Brazilian Alex Barros on the seventh lap and was battling, wheel-to-wheel, with Criville when the red flag was shown. The Australian was slow off the grid the second time around and slipped to fifth place before clawing his way through the field to overtake Criville.

Britain's Carl Fogarty is third overall in the Superbike world championships after two races in Brno, the Czech Republic, yesterday. Fogarty was second in the first race and third in the second, both races being won by the Australian Troy Corser.

Results, Digest, page 23